The Latest: Obama Places Last-day Call to Germany's Merkel

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Barack Obama (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

The White House says President Barack Obama’s final call to a foreign leader was to German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN’-geh-lah MEHR’-kuhl).

Obama has described Merkel as the steadiest and most reliable international partner he’s had as president.

The White House says Obama expressed appreciation for their friendship and efforts to deepen relations between the U.S. and Germany, and thanked the chancellor for her leadership.

Officials said they also agreed that close cooperation between Washington and Berlin and the U.S. and Europe is essential to maintaining a sturdy trans-Atlantic bond.

European leaders are anxious about incoming President Donald Trump’s unpredictability and kind words for the Kremlin.

Obama also spoke with Merkel’s husband. First lady Michelle Obama joined the president on the call.


4:45 p.m.

In his last major act as president, Barack Obama is cutting short the sentences of 330 federal inmates convicted of drug crimes.

The move brings Obama’s bid to correct what he’s called a systematic injustice to a climactic close.

Obama has now commuted the sentences of 1,715 people, more than any other president in U.S. history. During his presidency Obama freed 568 inmates serving life sentences.

The final batch of commutations is the most any U.S. president has issued in a single day. It’s the culmination of a second-term effort to remedy consequences of decades of onerous sentencing requirements that Obama’s said put tens of thousands of drug offenders behind bars for too long.

Obama repeatedly called on Congress to act broadly, but lawmakers never did.

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